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Is it possible to make a computer with multiple processors, and if so, how? Answered

I am trying to make my own computer out of the parts of ones that have been thrown out.  The computers I find are really old and slow, so I need to figure out a way to group the processors to increase the speed of the computer.  I anticipate to be running Linux on the machine.


Many current supercomputers are essentially designed that way. Theproblem is that this requires an architecture significantly differentfrom that of a PC in order to actually achieve much gain -- theprocessors need their own cache to work out of, and access to the busand devices must be coordinated, and you need to work out how they'regoing to communicate with each other, and... And even after that, speedwill be improved only if each of the processors is running somethingindependently (a separate problem, or a separate part of the problem),which means writing code to take advantage of this.

So: Possible, but not easy nor cheap.

On the other hand: How fast do you really need? All machineswait for user input at the same speed, and Linux runs better on slowboxes than Windows does (especially if you're willing to settle forcommand line shell rather than X applications).

Here' a link to a Linux cluster project that was built into an IKEA file cabinet..<br />The guy used all new parts, but you might be able to find a school or business<br />that's giving away multiple units of a certain model of pc .<br /><a href="http://helmer.sfe.se/">helmer.sfe.se/</a><br />

Thanks for that. I wish I could think of a good reason tobuild one !

Try to group whole machines not processors. Unless you've got amulti-CPU machine you could just plug them into...


What you are talking about doing is possible and there is a wholemovement to see how powerful they can make old computers.

If you want to share disk space its easy to do, you just network thecomputers together.

If you want to increase the speed then that's much harder.  Youhave to run software that will allow them to run in parallel.  Idon't think linux will do that.  But I don't know I don't runlinux.  I can still get windoughs to do what I need it to do mostof the time.

There are issues with buss speeds being different and longer.  Ifyou connect two computers together  the will run slower than a dualprocessor running the same speed just because of the length of the busslines that connect them.

So I think your quest for more speed by combining them is not going tobe fruitful.  But it would be a great learning experience.

Good luck.

The (Linux based) Beowulf project does just what you want. <br /><br />http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beowulf_%28computing%29<br /><br />Creates clusters of commodity hardware to make a computer with reallyserious computing power - a lot of the world's supercomputers are nowusing it. <br /><br />AIUI, you really need to use the SAME hardware, or you have majordeployment headaches. I think PS3s have been "Beowulfed"into super computers, and the cell processor in the PS3 is already aparallel processor I think.<br /><br />Steve<br />